Despite serious concerns about the bill among seniors, the House Republican Conference, large corporations, pharmaceutical companies and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) are promoting the controversial new Medicare law.
“The more we learn about the final details of the bill,” said Kourpias, “the worse it is for older Americans. The latest example is a provision added by the White House that allows companies to severely reduce their retirees’ existing drug coverage without losing out on the new subsidy put in the bill to ensure that employers would retain prescription drug coverage for their retirees.”
More than 50,000 seniors
have resigned from the AARP to protest the organization’s support for the
new Medicare bill.
Despite a record setting federal deficit and nearly 3 million jobs lost since he took office, the president blithely described the economy as “strong, and growing stronger” and urged Congress to make permanent his budget-busting $1.7 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans.
Discussing immigration policy, the president ignored concerns among both Democrats and Republicans that granting temporary worker status to millions of illegal aliens had the potential to reward those who entered the U.S. illegally while encouraging millions more to do so.
On Social Security, Education and Health Care, the president proposed programs that lacked sufficient funding to reverse the impact of cuts made during the fist three years of his term of office. By his administration’s own estimates, Bush’s main health care proposal would reduce the number of uninsured by only about 4 million and do nothing to rein in skyrocketing costs. Another proposal would cap federal spending on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which could result in more than 7 million people losing coverage under those programs by 2013.
Union members who
listened to the 54-minute speech were no doubt surprised to hear of the
president’s support for “free labor unions” – until he added the words “in
the Middle East.”
“Our national security is at stake and Passport Office Management is insisting that employees serve up US passports faster than a happy meal at McDonalds,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “If management won’t listen, Congress should step in to ensure terrorists and criminals don’t get US passports.”
Passport employees have
repeatedly approached management with their concerns about the quota
system but are largely ignored. “Subtle indications of fraud are missed
without sufficient time to review applications,” said Local 1998 President
Colin Walle. “Employees can meet whatever quantity expectations the agency
sets, but without adequate time to do the job thoroughly, mistakes are
going to happen. Our national security could hang in the balance.”
“Flight Attendants are the first respondents and the last line of defense for the safety and security of passengers,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “This formal recognition of the critical safety and security functions Flight Attendants perform is long overdue.”
IAM Flight Attendants at
Continental Airlines spearheaded a legislative action juggernaut where
thousands of Flight Attendants visited, phoned and emailed Congress to
urge the passage of this landmark legislation.
“Most people in the area are aware the company has chosen to outsource 400-plus jobs to China over the next few years,” said Herman. “We tried to convince upper management that together we could lick this problem. They chose not to agree with us, hence the jobs are slated to go to China.
“Manufacturing in this great nation is in trouble,” said Herman. “It’s not because we are not smart enough or because we don’t work hard enough, but because we have a government in Washington that does not force rogue nations like China to abide by monetary laws, trade laws, enforce fair tariffs or copyright laws.”
Herman also said union
membership gave workers an advantage in the struggle to keep good jobs
from being moved overseas. “We will fight as one to keep as many jobs here
in Fond du Lac as possible. We know we have it in our power to affect the
bottom line. If we can make our products cheaper while maintaining our
quality, this alone will make corporate managers rethink their China
The technicians at Landmark Automotive Group in North Pekin, IL and Gjovik Chevrolet in Sandwich, IL wanted better wages, benefits and representation in the workplace, according to DBR Pluger.
“I’m really proud of these two groups,” said Pluger. “They were very strong and determined to get the workplace fairness that IAM representation brings.”
The IAM Midwest Territory extended congratulations to DBR Joe Pluger and volunteer organizer Joe Nuske from Local 851 on these victories. “We thank them and wish them continued success in the future,” said Midwest Territory GVP Jim Brown.
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President Bush's promise of new jobs is falling far short. Find out how much at www.jobwatch.org